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Why does good PR get such a bad rap?

By Lisa Goldsberry

bigstock-Two-business-colleagues-shakin-45670564_(2)-184987-editedDon’t fall for cheap promises; turn to real professionals for your PR needs

Your company faced a potential public relations disaster, but with a comprehensive crisis communication strategy and smart tactics from your PR representatives, you got through it and saved your reputation. So, why is that a bad thing?

No matter how transparent your methods are, public perception seems to always be that your PR team must have lied, cheated and used smoke and mirrors to pull the wool over everyones eyes, getting your company out of the situation without blame or consequence. Unfortunately, there are some PR services which do operate this way. Learn to separate the good from the dishonest and save your company from bad PR.

PR’s PR problem could be yours, too

The questionable ethics that some professionals practice shed a murky light on the entire industry. Every professional should follow best practices but, like in all fields, there are those who choose not to do so.

Beware of assurances and agreements that dont cost much or sound too good to be true. If your PR firm or spokesperson uses dubious methods, the stink of dishonesty rubs off on your company, making you look guilty by association.

Things to watch out for

Press release distribution tricks: Many companies turn to press release distribution outfits because they are relatively inexpensive and promise to get your information in front of thousands with just a click. Its okay to use them once in a while, but tread carefully.

Some of these sites use back-link and SEO tactics which have been flagged as borderline spam. This could hurt your company by attracting negative attention and stacking up penalties from the Google ranking system.

Also, critics have singled out some of these services for their policies of distributing information word-for-word with no editing or fact-checking. As a result, it’s easy for fraudulent press releases to slip through. This has happened numerous times, making all (even legitimate ones) seem suspect.

As a rule, you should use press releases only when you have newsworthy information to share – not just to generate website traffic. In addition, they should be just one component of an overall communication and consumer outreach strategy.

Unethical PR practices: Some companies resort to tactics such as issuing fake press releases and creating false social media posts in a misguided attempt to generate buzz and increase media attention for their clients.

Other examples may include claiming that a company or product is green when it isnt or paying journalists and news outlets for positive media placements. When this kind of underhandedness is discovered, there are significant consequences for your company in the form of public distrust and bad publicity.

Engaging in deceptive behavior: Other PR companies make dishonest or inflated pronouncements concerning present or former clients. It is crucial that you not fall for misleading claims and bogus statements about past successes. Lying about such facts demonstrates a culture of deceit. Check that any prospective firm’s achievements are genuine.

How to recognize good PR

It’s important to understand that good PR comes with strong ethical standards, as stipulated by the Public Relations Society of America and the Barcelona Declaration of Measurement Principles. Beware of any company that does not prominently demonstrate its adherence to these standards. Reputable PR firms are willing to work with your company to provide you with integrated, ethical PR strategies, whatever your budget.

At Axia, we combine valuable content and targeted audience engagement initiatives mixed with compelling campaigns and honorable ethics to improve your public image and market position. To us, thats what good PR is all about, so its what we bring to every client on a consistent basis. Download our e-book Maximizing Your Public Relations Investment or contact us today.

Lisa Goldsberry is a writer for Axia Public Relations with more than 15 years of public relations experience. She specializes in business, higher education and technology PR. Connect with Axia Public Relations on Twitter at @axiapr.

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Feature image credit: BigStockPhotos.com

Topics: public relations

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